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Dr Najeeb Al Shorbaji (left) during the seminar on e-health. (Salim Matramkot)
Doha: With e-health gaining more popularity in Qatar, it will be a major alignment tool for the forthcoming Social Health Insurance Scheme, a senior official from Supreme Council of Health (SCH), has said.
“E-health will be a strategic alignment tool for the forthcoming Social Health Insurance Scheme which will enable a successful interface of the scheme with the rest of the health care sector,” Husein Reka, Manager, Health Financing and Insurance Department at the SCH, said during a round table conference recently.
“This project will cause a major change in the funding of providers and the health sector in general, hence e-health will be of tremendous help,” Reka added.
He was speaking on the sidelines of e-health initiatives in Qatar during the seminar jointly organised by PwC, the world’s leading professional services firm, and Pinsent Masons, an international law firm.
The session, titled “Opportunities for extending the boundaries of Care”, was chaired by Dr Najeeb Al Shorbaji, Director, Knowledge Management, WHO. He provided views on key developments and outcomes of e-health initiatives across international economies.
A PwC study on “Emerging E-Health: Paths for Growth” indicates that patients in emerging markets have greater expectations for the impact of e-health compared to patients in developed markets. The study also revealed that emerging markets have been more responsive than developed markets in funding e-health encounters and provisions.
“Countries such as US, Canada, UK and Australia are investing significantly in e-health as part of their health care strategies. E-health schemes are introduced and very well suited and important to Qatar and GCC countries,” said Dr Al Shorbaji. “The strategic introduction of e-health initiatives in Qatar can be a key driver in helping realise Qatar’s 2030 Vision and the objectives of Qatar National Health Strategy 2011-2016.”
“If e-health is fundamentally about connecting patients, providers, payors, solution companies, telecoms and regulators with data, that connection can be accelerated by connecting those parties at the start of the journey,” said Ryder Smith, PwC Health Industries Partner - Qatar. “With e-health establishment representing Initiative 2.4 of the Qatar National Health Strategy 2011-2016, the time to start making those connections is clearly upon all concerned”.
The discussion touched upon e-programmes and services, research and hospital initiatives, the level of and justification for investment in e-health, increasing use of technology to access global and remote services, the role of the private sector, education and awareness campaigns, regulation and the scope for practitioner input as well as opportunities and challenges in the development of international standards, norms and legal frameworks in critical areas such as health data ownership, transfer and security.